Neck pain can be quite a nerve-racking experience. It can throw your life out of gear and cause considerable pain even with the slightest neck movement. Stiff neck or neck pain limits one’s overall mobility. People experience a sharp pain while driving or sleeping or simply turning their head. Causes of neck pain could be many, ranging from injury to the wrong posture. Irrespective of the cause of neck pain, one needs to get rid of the pain at the earliest in order to restore normalcy in daily activities.
The neck is supported by bones, ligaments, and muscles. An inflammation, abnormality or injury to this support system causes neck pain. Neck pain or strain occurs when one or more fibers in a neck muscle strain or tear. This is also referred to as a pulled muscle. The pain varies based on the extent and location of the damage to the neck muscle. Mild neck pain usually subsides on its own with rest, but sharp or severe pain may require treatment. Before knowing how to cure neck pain, it is important to know what causes it.
Causes of stiff neck
Neck pain is usually caused by a strain or injury to the ligament, tendon or muscles supporting the neck. The neck vertebrae extend from the base of the skull all the way up to the upper torso. The neck area is made up of a network of tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Neck pain results from a damage or strain or stretching of any of these parts. Here are the common causes of neck pain:
- Muscle tension or strain: Neck muscles can get stretched or strained due to a wear and tear, bad posture, wrong sleeping position or jerky movement during exercise.
- Injury: The neck is prone to injury. Accidental fall or sports injury or sudden jerky movements cause injury to the neck muscles. A sudden jerky movement that causes injury to the neck is called a whiplash.
- Heart attack: In some cases, neck pain could be a symptom of heart attack. If neck pain comes along with shortness of breath or excessive sweating, vomiting or jaw pain, one should seek immediate medical help.
- Meningitis: This is an infection that affects the brain. The tissues that surround the brain and spinal cord are inflamed in meningitis, causing fever, headache, and stiff neck. This is an urgent situation that requires immediate medical help.
Other medical conditions like arthritis, spinal stenosis, spondylosis, and osteoporosis also cause neck pain.
Treatment for stiff neck
When considering how to cure neck pain, it is important to note that the cure depends on the severity and cause of neck pain. Those suffering from persistent neck pain caused by permanent damage to ligaments or tendons, or arthritis or osteoporosis can only get temporary relief from the pain. A complete cure is only possible for conditions where only a temporary, reversible damage has occurred. Irrespective of the treatment methods followed, proper diagnosis and consultation with a licensed practitioner are mandatory.
These days a lot of information is available on how to cure neck pain. Treatment for neck pain or stiff neck can be provided through medication, physical therapy or home remedies. Let us now visit each treatment method:
- Medication for neck pain: Severe pain relief is provided by muscle relaxants or corticosteroid injections. These medicines provide relief from pain and inflammation. If an infection is causing neck pain, the doctor may put one on antibiotic medicines.
- Hospitalization: If the cause of neck pain is a serious neck injury or meningitis or heart attack, hospitalization is required. Once initial treatment is done at the hospital, one may be advised to rest adequately and also support the neck muscles with a collar until full recovery.
- Physical therapy: Mild neck pain caused by the wrong posture or wear and tear of muscle can be treated through simple stretching exercises and physiotherapy by a licensed practitioner. Wearing a neck collar may be required until complete recovery is achieved.
- Traction: This is a commonly followed method to ease neck pain caused due to spondylosis or mild injury. This treatment eases out the stress between vertebrae of the neck.
- Surgical methods: Although rare, surgical treatment for neck pain is followed for severe cases. When any of the above treatments do not work, surgery may be required to ease out neck pain.
How to cure neck pain naturally?
Mild to moderate neck pain can be cured through simple home remedies. Ice and heat therapy is a common treatment for mild neck pain caused by stretching of a muscle or minor injuries. Alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic treatment are also effective for easing out neck pain.
Owing to the stressful and mechanical lifestyle these days, one is constantly worried about how to cure neck pain. Mild to moderate neck pain can be cured with simple home remedies supported by adequate rest, but if the pain is persistent and associated with other symptoms, it is better to seek medical help.